Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Selangor govt 'in deep water' crisis

coordinator Datuk Seri Mohd Zin Mohamed discussing the state’s impending water crisis in Shah Alam yesterday. Pic by Osman Adnan

It has only itself to blame for high non-revenue water, says state BN coordinator

THE Pakatan Rakyat Selangor government has only itself to blame for the state's high non-revenue water (NRW), said state BN coordinator Datuk Seri Mohd Zin Mohamed yesterday.

He said Selangor's NRW was high because the state had frozen water concessionaires' capital expenditure (capex) since 2008.

This resulted in the concessionaires not being able to continue to extensively replace old and damaged pipes, leading to high NRW.

NRW is water that is lost before it reaches consumers through leaks, theft or meter inaccuracies.

However, this situation could have been prevented as the state government had a 30 per cent stake in water concessionaires through its subsidiaries, Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Bhd and Kumpulan Pe-rangsang Selangor, said Zin.

"It is puzzling that the state government, as part of the board of directors, freezes capex, yet accuses the concessionaires of not doing enough to reduce NRW.

"A 30 per cent stake is a substantial amount. Please do not say that state has no say and no representation on the board of directors. It does have the power to rectify things.

"This means the accusation by the menteri besar's political secretary, Faekah Husin, that water management was controlled by BN cronies was not an issue as the state is part of the concessionaires."

Zin was responding to Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim's claim that the state's critical water issues would be solved if Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas) could reduce NRW from more than 30 per cent to 20 per cent

Khalid said if Syabas saved 10 per cent of NRW, then the 2.4 per cent treated water reserve would become irrelevant.

The treated water reserve in treatment plants is at the critical level of 2.4 per cent instead of the comfort level of 20 per cent.

Khalid also accused the concessionaires of poorly managing water treatment plants.

Zin, however, said even if the concessionaires reduced NRW to 20 per cent, it would not solve the impending water crisis.

He said this was because water demand grew by 3.5 per cent every year, but the supply capacity had been stagnant since 2008.

"Till April this year, 134 applications for water supply from developers with request capacity of 141 million litres per day have been frozen by

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